Planning for your career

Planning for your career is essential for personal growth and professional development. You're more likely to be happy and successful in your career if you choose a role that suits your interests and personality, values and skills. Planning is the first stage of your career journey.

If you're not sure which direction your career will take when you graduate, explore the careers associated with your area of study.

Four key stages to planning your career

  1. Knowing yourself
  2. Exploring your options
  3. Making decisions
  4. Taking action

Knowing yourself - identify your skills, interests, values and personality

The first stage of the career planning process involves self-analysis. Who am I and what do I want from a career? To begin, ask yourself:

  • What skills do I have?
    Think about the skills you're developing in all aspects of your life, e.g., leadership skills, languages spoken or computer programming. These skills are often called 'hard or technical'. 'Soft skills' incorporate your more personal and transferable skills, e.g., self-motivation, problem solving, active listening, analytical thinking, etc.
  • What am I interested in?
    Assessing your interests is important in identifying careers that might suit your needs. Your interests can influence your career choice and the employers you work for. Create a list of all the activities you enjoy doing the most, then think about why you:
    • find them interesting
    • enjoy some more than others
    • would like to develop or spend more time on one or more.
  • What's important now?
    Values concern how you feel about things and what you think is important. Your values will influence the type of work you do and the employers you work for. Values help you act with integrity when responding to challenges.
    Your values and needs are likely to change over time. What seems important to you at this stage in your life may give way to other concerns later. To learn more about what's important to you now, complete The Good Project's value-sort activity.

Once you complete this stage, you'll understand who you are and what you want from your career. And you'll know what you can offer potential employers.

Find out about the Strengths@Massey Programme.

Explore your options - research roles, sectors and employers

Researching the labour market will increase your awareness of career options. A good way to learn about a sector or industry is to work in it. If possible, try to secure employment in the sector you'd like to work in once you graduate. The experience will be useful when it's time to decide on a career.

If you're unable to secure paid work, find out if voluntary work is available. This could be a good way to find out more about the industry and employer. Work experience, whether paid or voluntary, is a good way to gain contacts who will help you in your career.

Another way to research the labour market is online. The following websites are a good place to start.

Find more online resources for career planning and research

Making decisions

Deciding on a career will be one of the big decisions you make in life. It's important to remember though that no decision need be for life. You should remain open to a range of career possibilities.

Following your research and self-analysis, you will have a better idea of the right career fit for you. When you've narrowed down your options, consider which one:

  • has more pros than cons
  • is the most aligned with your values - what's important to you?
  • gives you the most sense of excitement and the right feeling - gut instinct.

Finally, you may want to reflect on how you feel about choosing one option over another.

If you're struggling to decide on a career path, have a chat with your friends and whanau. They know you well and will be happy to help you with this decision. Otherwise you can contact one of our career consultants

Visit Careers NZ to find out more about making a career decision.

Taking action

You're now ready to update your CV and start finding work. But before you do that, why not put your networking skills to work. Attending career events is a good way to make new contacts and seek out job opportunities. Many professional associations hold local and national events too.

Build your network, highlight your achievements and find job opportunities with social media. LinkedIn and Twitter are two platforms that cater to professionals. They're also a good way to follow professional associations and influencers.

Find out more about finding work

Contact us Mon - Fri 8:30am to 4:30pm 0800 MASSEY (+64 6 350 5701) TXT 5222 Web chat Staff Alumni News Māori @ Massey